By Bradley Meersand, Director of Operations
We have decided that we will each be responsible for writing a blog post that is relevant to us. It is easy to always talk as an agency, but we forget that we are in the business of people and we are made up of such unique and interesting voices with stories to tell.
Since I was the one that suggested it, I also had to be the first to action it – which immediately sent me into a panic as I didn’t even know what I would actually talk about or what people would find useful.
Then it dawned on me that the one time being confident and self indulgent is excused is if you are shouting about being a bloody brilliant parent – so I’ll talk about that!
So indulge me for a moment…
Among the many seasons of life, becoming a parent may be the most consequential. The emotional upheaval and the practical adjustments are all consuming. It’s the constant worry and fear of screwing them up; then the balancing act of physically taking care of them whilst trying to provide financially and lastly trying to progress personally and professionally.
But with my family across the pond and a global pandemic, my wife and I were thrown into the deep end to provide for and nurture our beautiful little girl, while having to navigate client retention, source new business opportunities and provide my team with the emotional and professional support they need all from my couch.
Those beginning months of lockdown were manageable – as working and parenting from home in the sunshine was somewhat novel. The real struggle is now, having in person work commitments and needing to be there to do nursery drop-off everyday and pick-ups on most days.
Also just FYI for all parents-to-be, newborns are a breeze in comparison to a sassy toddler who can outsmart and manipulate you into anything. So revel in those beginning months when they just sleep on you all day – I’ve now become that walking cliche of “it goes so fast.”
I’m that Type A personality, who tries to do everything for everyone, control the situation and do it all perfectly – so finding that post lockdown parenting rhythm has been a challenge, but it’s important to not apply too much pressure on yourselves as parents. It’s OK to throw fish fingers in the oven and call it a day or just ignore the laundry pile for the weekend…
So what have I learned nearly a decade into a career and three years as a parent? Well, I really haven’t a clue, but I do know that these are things that I’ve found that can make that balancing act a bit more manageable.
Minor family moments matter just as much as (if not more than) the major ones
Make it home for a bath time or to read a book before bed – it is just as important to your children and it’s those moments that you will cling onto when they grow.
Work can wait
We live in a world of ‘flexible’ working, so people work to their own schedules and you don’t need to reply when they email. Put the phone down and try to be present, the email will still be there. Side note: it took my very patient partner to make this abundantly clear.
between work and family is key to staying balanced. Leadership roles can be all-consuming. If you’re in a top job, you’ve earned the privilege of being ultimately accountable, so take a break from that and find that balance.
Set family goals
We set ourselves professional goals and targets for our clients, so why not set a weekly goal that pertains to your family? How many home cooked meals will you prepare or how many board games will be played before bed? This can help us hold ourselves accountable for being a present parent and can be such a small thing, but one that makes memories and creates impact.
Communication & compromise is key
Make sure that you communicate with your partner or family who support you with your children, sometimes you need to work late, go to an event or just take time for yourself. It isn’t a competition, so don’t keep track – just be appreciative and say thank you, because it all evens out!
I appreciate that my situation is one that is rooted in blessings and that there are plenty of parents out there who do all this on their own. I can never imagine what that is like or how they do it and my respect and praise is with them all.
However, it’s very hard…
So I urge every employer out there to review their policies to ensure that parents are given the support they need to thrive in the office and at home.
Always find the time to be thankful for your happy and healthy family. The real joy in life is seeing your little one’s face at the end of a long day. When they throw their arms around you and tell you that they love you, just know that you are doing enough.
Oh and martinis, have a martini 🍸